Chinese citizens are facing a tough internet firewall as the ruling Communist party tries to enforce silence and amnesia on a seething nation striving to grieve and commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
The firewall, which blocks many sites including Twitter and Facebook, now blocks all of Google’s services from search and Google maps to the more innocuous calendar or slides apps.
It was 1989 and the streets of Beijing ran red with the blood of Chinese protestors.
They wanted democracy, but were gunned down by their own military. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, were killed.
Censors have banned many references to the event including:
China has a standing block for versions of the June 4th date in a range of languages, including even the roman numerals VIIV.
The number 64 (for 4th June) and formulas leading to the number such as 65 minus 1 are blocked.
Activists have previously substituted dates such as May 35th, but even the short form “535” have been identified and banned.
Words such as “this day”, “that year” and “special day” and emoticons symbolising remembrance such as a burning candle have been blocked.
Even more unusual phrases used on platforms such as China’s social network Weibo have been identified and shut down
Last year, “big yellow duck” was blocked after activists substituted ducks for the tanks in Jeff Widener’s iconic photo of a man standing in front of a line of armoured vehicles.
A Lego recreation of the photo was banned shortly after it surfaced on Weibo last year.
Despite the bans, people living in China use ISP re-routers to evade censorship and can still access Google search through a hidden version of the service maintained by GreatFire, hosted on Amazon Web Servers.